stitching tutorials

wintering and split stitch

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January is a month for dreaming and planning, warm winter woollies and hot coffee.  This inspired the newest lilipopo embroidery pattern 'winter coffee'. 

I love the winter months for drawing and stitching, once the dog walk is done I can make myself a coffee and cosy up on the sofa and sketch or stitch the day away.  At least for some of the days of the week.  The computer part of pattern making is a little less romantic!

For this pattern I have used my usual back stitch but I have also introduced quite a bit of split stitch.  I have been loving split stitch recently, it gives such a nice texture to things like hair

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and butterfly wings (the kits I am working on at the moment)

Split stitch finished

It's a nice simple stitch to do and I find it quite therapeutic once I get a rhythm going.  

I have tended to use two strands, you can use as many as you like but I do prefer an even number.

Follow the lines of the shape you are stitching.  I like to make a few separate rows of split stitch and then fill in between them.

You begin with a stitch

Split stitch fill 1

Now you are going to bring your needle up between the two strands of that stitch about half way along

Split stitch 2

now take your needle down about half a stitch length from the end of the first stitch

Split stitch 3Split stitch 4

Now you are going to bring your needle up between the two strands of that stitch about half way (at the end of the previous stitch)

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and you continue in this way...

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I like to leave a gap and create a few separate lines and then fill in between them keeping them very close.

Here is a link to Jenny Hart's fab video for 5 basic stitches including split stitch

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cL2Kv_vo8l0

My winter coffee embroidery pattern can be found here 

The spring  moth kits should be ready for March and spring (once the storms are over)

 


a purple unicorn

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I recently stitched up my unicorn pattern in purples and pinks and had quite a few requests for the colour palette.  I was trying out some of the lovely etoile threads from DMC.  They have a subtle glittery effect but are so much easier to stitch with than either the glitter or satin threads.  I loved using them.  The threads are marked with a 'c' before the number and the colours correspond to colours that already exist.  So, for example I used 603, a pink thread and c603, the equivalent etoile thread in the same colour.

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So here is the colour palette

The main body of the unicorn is stitched using backstitch and DMC 209

The hooves are backstitched using DMC 603

The mane and tail are stitched using stem stitch and a mix (one thread of each) of DMC 210 and DMC 26

The horn is stitched using stem stitch and DMC c603 (an etoile thread)

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The fern braiding is stitched using fern stitch and DMC 603 (plain not etoile)

The french knots on the braiding are stitched using etoile blanc (white)

the stars on the unicorn are stitched using c603

The stars in the sky are a mix of DMC 3350, DMC c603 

The flower heads  are stitched using a mix of DMC 3350 and DMC 603 (plain threads)

The ferns are stitched using DMC 503 and fern stitch

Finally the flower stalks were stitched using a single strand of DMC 3052 or DMC 471 (I did a few stalks in each)

I also added a few little stitches to the stalks as leaves.

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this is the colour list

etoile threads

DMC c603

DMC etoile blanc (white)

Normal DMC threads

DMC 603 pink

DMC 600 pink

DMC 3350 red pink

DMC 209 purple

DMC 210 purple

DMC 26 light purple

I used 2 strands apart from the flower stalks.

I stitched the unicorn on a pre-printed panel (no transferring required).  It is available in my Etsy shop 

If you are happy to transfer the pattern yourself it is available here

It's a very easy pattern to stitch and suitable for a child or beginner.

x

 


Pink mermaid colourway

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It's been a while since I was last here but I have been working on a pink version of the mermaid pattern in order to create a kit so I thought I would add the colour guide here for anyone who has bought the mermaid pattern in the past and would like to stitch her in pink

The colours I used

DMC 3733 dark pink     DMC 3047 pale yellow

DMC 761 mid pink     DMC 945 pale orange

DMC 225 pale pink     DMC 922 burnt orange

DMC ecru     DMC 598 light blue

DMC 451 brown      DMC 3849 turquoise

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Stitch the first six rows of the tail using 2 strands of DMC 3733 .  Back stitch the outline of the same area using the same thread.  Stitch the next seven rows using 2 strands of DMC 761.  Outline the same area of the tail using backstitch and the same thread.  Now stitch the last six rows using 2 strands of DMC 225 and outline the same area using back stitch and the same thread.

For the French knots on the tail use 3 strands of thread.  For the lowest six rows use ecru.  For the middle seven rows use DMC 225. For the top six rows use DMC 761.

For the tail fin use 2 strands of DMC 3733 and back stitch.  For the side fins use 2 strands of DMC 761 and backstitch.

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For the hair I used chainstitch, but you could also use back stitch or stem stitch if you prefer.  The chains are very small, about 2mm long.

I used 2 strands of thread for the hair.  I alternated between

DMC 761, DMC 3047 and DMC 945.

Stitch the hair over the top of the tail where shown.  You can add French knots to her hair for embellishments I used 3 strands DMC 922.

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The plants in her hand were stitched using 2 strands of backstitch.  The large leaves are DMC 922.  The smaller leaf in the middle is DMC 3733.  The stems are DMC 598.

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The green blue plant stems are backstitched using 2 strands of DMC 3849.  The branches are backstitched using 2 strands of DMC 598.

The Pink plants are outlined using 2 strands of DMC 3733 and stem stitch.  Next fill the leaves with satin stitch using 2 strands of DMC 761.

Finally the star fish are stitched using 2 strands of DMC 922 and backstitch then filled with tiny seed stitches in the same thread.

 

If you haven't bought the pattern before it now includes the pink colourway.  There will be kits and printed panels available by the end of August.

I will be back next week

x

 

 


a simple flower embroidery tutorial

Lilipopo rose tutorial extra 2

My sketchbooks tend to be filled with drawings of flowers and my camera is filled with photographs of flowers at this time of year so it's no surprise that my stitch play has been just a little inspired by flowers too.

These woven roses are some of the simplest and most satisfying stitching I have done recently.  I love the way you can play with them.  You can use one colour or an array of colours.  You can use two strands or all six strands.  Your base stitches can be simple long straight stitches like spokes or detached chain stitches to create leaves underneath the flowers.

Best of all they are so very simple to stitch, in fact really they are woven.

Lilipopo lavender bag tutorial

For this little rose lavender bag I used

Robert Kauffman essex linen in natural (use doubled if you are worried about knots showing through)

a number 7 crewel needle (or larger, ie a lower number)

a 3" wooden hoop

DMC stranded cotton in

 DMC 760, DMC  761 and DMC 502

Lilipopo tutorial 1 

Begin by drawing a circle about 2.5cm (1") diameter using a removable pen and segment it with 5 lines roughly equal distance apart as above.  Now you take 3 strands of DMC 502 and create 5 large detached chain stitches from the centre out to the edge as above.

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this is the base of your flower.  You could use straight stitches if you prefer but I like the leaf effect of the detached chain stitches.

Now you are going to weave your rose.

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now take 6 strands of DMC 760, and bring it up through the fabric very close to the centre just to the left of the top leaf as shown above.  (I tied a knot at the back as there won't really be anything to anchor the back to).

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And now the fun part you simply weave the thread over and under the leaves in a circle pulling it into the centre as you go.  You don't go through the fabric, you are simply weaving over and under your green leaves.

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You just keep going round until you are happy with the centre of the flower.  You can push your stitches closer to the centre to stop the green showing through as you go.

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When you want to change colour just go down through your fabric with the needle just after an under stitch and tie a knot to fasten it in place.  Then come up with the new colour just after the under stitch and continue in the same way

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Keep going until just the tips of the leaves are left showing.  Take your needle down through the fabric and tie the thread off.

Then make lots more

Lilipopo rose tutorial extra 3

You can experiment with size of circle, number of spokes, colours and thread tension for different effects.  You could use different numbers of threads, perhaps even doubling the six strands over so you are working with 12 strands.

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you can also experiment with using straight stitches for the base and wrapping the flower thread around each strand as you go.  For the purple flower I wrapped the thread around each spoke instead of weaving over and under.

Next week we are off to WOMAD for a few days of dancing, music and (fingers crossed after last year) sunshine so the lilipopo shop will be closed from Thursday to Monday evening and there will be no blog post.

I hope you have a lovely week filling scraps of fabric with woven roses.


x

 


Easter and bunnies

Lilipopo little bunnies coasters

Spring keeps showing it's head for a moment here and then disappearing back into cold grey rain.  I think it's probably always like this at this time of year but I do love the sunny days!  So I wanted a happy project to fill a little time this week.

Lilipopo little bunnies idea

With Easter rapidly on it's way... this weekend!  I decided a quick bunny stitch was in order.  I took the little bunnies embroidery pattern  and played around with it a little to make two little coasters.  This pattern is so quick to stitch up and would fit nicely onto little drawstring bags for mini eggs too.  

Lilipopo little bunnies backing and lace

I cut a 4.75" square from some white linen (Robert Kauffman Essex linen) and the same of pink phoebe liberty fabric for the back. Then I cut a 5" square of quilt batting (warm and natural) for the wadding.  I traced the elements of the bunny pattern that I wanted onto the linen square.

Next I centred the linen onto the wadding and hooped up and embroidered through both.

Lilipopo little bunnies stitched

I like the padded effect of stitching through the batting too.  I used just four colours for this - DMC 451 (brown) DMC 603 (pink) DMC 761 (pale pink) and DMC 564 green

Lilipopo little bunnies applique tummy

I gave this little bunny an appliqued liberty pink tummy using bondaweb to stick the fabric down and little pale pink stitches to keep it in place.

After embroidering the pattern I added french knots in the pale pink all around the bunny, leaving a space all around the edge for the seam allowance (0.25")

Lilipopo little bunnies embroidered

and then, because I realized I would have to get my machine out I stitched another bunny on natural linen and added a lace trim and a liberty print border.  I also appliqued a little heart onto the linen backing fabric.

Lilipopo little bunnies machine stitching

These little coasters are very easy to finish just place your padded embroidery right side up and then place your backing fabric right side down on top of it.  Now stitch around the edge leaving a 1.5" - 2" gap for turning (I used a 0.25" seam allowance)

Lilipopo little bunnies finished 2

Once you turn them out poke the corners gently out, hand stitch the gap closed and give them a gentle press.  These were such fun to stitch, especially as they embroider up very quickly and you could add all sorts of trims to them or, if you're a quilter, bind the edges.

I hope you all have a very happy Easter and we get to enjoy some sunny spring weather, unless you are in the Southern hemisphere in which case cosy Autumn stitching is probably in order.

Happy Easter 

x


a mermaid tale

Lilipopo mermaid stitch fixed

I have been enjoying a quiet but busy January so far, lots of stitching and even more sketching and painting.  Yesterday I decided it was time to warm up the old computer so I could get on with finishing the mermaid pattern and this morning I have her in my Etsy shop 

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I have been having some fun playing around a little with stitches and so I came up with her tail stitch which fills the tail very prettily.  I have also been practicing consistency with my chain stitch (testing my patience a little) but I think I finally have a rhythm going, as long as no-one interrupts me. 

Generally speaking I like to use a hoop as I find I can keep the tension in my stitching more even.  But I found long lines of chain stitch a little easier without the hoop really or at least with a small hoop just covering the area I have to stitch.  An 8" hoop can be a little unwieldy for rhythmic stitching sometimes.  Do you prefer to hoop or not to hoop?

The fish tail stitch is very simple and began with rows of back stitch

Lilipopo mermaid stitch 1

I made sure that my stitches met at the top point of all the half stars.  My star stitches are roughly the same size as my back stitch

Lilipopo mermaid stitch 2

Lilipopo mermaid stitch 3

Once the half star stitches were in place I added french knots in between using 3 strands of thread instead of 2 and a contrasting colour.

Lilipopo mermaid stitch 4

This is such a simple stitch but I love the textural effect.

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I think the mermaid would make a nice cushion doll.  Just stitched on her own and then cut out with a seam allowance and backed and stuffed.  This might be my next bit of stitching...

Lilipopo mushroom reader

Another project that I have been busy with this month is creating this girl who has found a quiet spot to do a bit of reading.  I am thinking of creating prints of this and possibly notecards (I have an addiction to notecards!).

I hope you are enjoying a quiet cozy creative January

x


stems and outlines some tips

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Stem stitch is not a stitch I use a great deal for outlining my figures because it tends to create a thicker line than I like but it can make a good outline for clothing or a decorative line but also fabulous hair. 

For the longest time I have been stitching two different stitches under the mistaken impression that they were the same stitch just approached from a different direction.  I thought both stitches were stem stitch but it turns out that one was stem stitch while the other was outline stitch.  I had even seen it referred to as outline stitch but there are quite often different names for the same stitch so I didn't pay too much attention.  It was only when I came to do some research for this post that I realized that they are indeed two stitches.  One, outline stitch, has a smoother edge while the other, stem stitch has a more jaggedy edge

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The example above is outline stitch  (it is stitched onto a piece of Robert Kauffman Essex linen in dusty blue).

and I stitched the top straight row using 4 strands of thread.  The second straight row and the curved row were stitched using 2 strands.

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To begin make a straight stitch but before you pull the thread all the way through bring your needle up through the fabric about half way along the stitch making sure the loop from the first stitch is above your needle (or further away from you).  This is what makes it an outline stitch.

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Pull the whole thing through and you can see that my thread, in the picture above, is  coming from underneath the first stitch.  Now take your needle down about half a stitch length from the end of the first stitch (your actual stitch length goes back to the middle of the previous stitch).  Again don't pull your stitch right through

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Now bring your needle up at the end of the previous stitch as shown above.  You will continue in this way until you get to the end of the line.

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You can also follow a curved line beautifully.  Making the stitches shorter or longer can also change the way the stitch looks.  I like to use this stitch with more threads to create a thick rope like line, it makes fabulous hair because it curves nicely.

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For stem stitch you create your first stitch but pull it through fully then bring your needle just above the middle of the stitch as shown above

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Next bring your needle down about half a stitch length from the end of the first stitch as you did for outline stitch and pull through

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Bring your needle back up just above the middle of the last stitch and continue in the same way

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I'm sorry for the slight blur (fast fading light in winter!)  Hopefully you can see the stem stitched pink line has a more twisted edge than the lower green outlined line.  Both can be used well on curves you just need to decide whether you want a smoother edge or a more decorative edge for your stitching.

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A fun use for stem stitch are these little flowers.  I made a french knot using 4 strands of a paler pink (I double wrapped it).

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Next I made a small straight stitch along the edge of the knot (you can push it into place with your fingers so it doesn't cover the knot).

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Then, using the same stem stitch technique, I brought the needle up just above the centre of the first stitch and made another stitch moving around the french knot centre.  You just continue going round until the flower is as big as you would like it to be.  The stitches should be a little longer on each round.

Have a lovely weekend and I hope you find some time for a little cosy stitching.

x


embroidered butterfly needlebook tutorial and pattern (part two)

Today I have the instructions for sewing the needle book together.  If you are looking for the pattern and the embroidery tutorial it is over here

To sew the needle book together

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Place the lining fabric and the embroidered/quilted piece right sides together and stitch around the edge with a 1" or 2" gap for turning (see picture above).  Stitch with a 1cm seam allowance.

Trim the edges and clip the corners.  My edges are about 0.5cm from the stitching line

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Then squish the whole thing through the gap and turn the right way around.

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press it open making sure you have good sharp corners.  Whip stitch the gap closed by hand. 

Now you will need your piece of felt

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Place your felt inside the needlebook with about a half centimetre around the edge as above.  Find the centre by folding the whole thing in half (you can draw a chalk line on the felt if your fold isn't clear) then stitch down the centre line using running stitch and anchor 874.

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To attach the fastening threads measure half way up the side of the needlebook where the lining meets the front cover.

thread your needle with 3 strands of Anchor 874 about 20cm long.  Put your needle in at the half way point and pull the thread through as though you are making a tiny stitch (as above) but only pull the thread half way through then take the needle off.  You are left with two tails about 10cm long.

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Now tie a knot close to the edge of the needlebook to fasten your threads there.

Do exactly the same on the opposite side of the needlebook

Now you can tie the threads together to close the needlebook as shown below

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I hope you enjoy stitching your little butterfly and (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere) it reminds you that spring is on its way, especially when we get to February that longest shortest month!

Happy New Year and I will see you again in 2018

x

 

 

 

 


embroidered butterfly needlebook tutorial and free pattern (part one)

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I hope you have all enjoyed the winter celebrations and are looking forward to a wonderful New Year.  As a little thank you for all the lovely support you have given me over this past year I have created a little butterfly pattern that you can download here

I used it for the cover of a little needlebook but you could pop it anywhere.  I think it would look sweet on a little notebook cover.  You could add flowers or stitch lots of butterflies.

These are the threads I used for the butterfly

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DMC 598 blue

DMC 3854 orange

DMC 352 coral

DMC ecru

Anchor 874 gold (the equivalent DMC is DMC 834)

DMC 451 brown

 

a piece of cotton or linen (I used cotton calico) 17cm x 11cm

a piece of quilt batting 17cm x 11cm

a piece of co-ordinating lining fabric 17cm x 11cm (I used Liberty tana lawn Claire Aude D)

a piece of co-ordinating felt 14cm x 8cm

a number 7 crewel needle

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If you are making the needle book you need to fold your calico in half and trace the pattern onto the left side (what will be the front of the needlebook) using a removable pen (transferring patterns). 

Now, using 3 strands of DMC 598 and stem stitch outline the top wings of the butterfly.  Next, using 3 strands of DMC 3854 and stem stitch outline the lower wings.

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Now work on the upper wings stitching both in the same way.

Take 3 strands of DMC 352 and, using rows of back stitch fill the edging of the top wings on both sides as above.

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Now fill the tall triangles on the top wings using 3 strands of DMC 3854 and back stitch.

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Fill the circles with Anchor 874 and satin stitch, again using 3 strands.

Next fill the wings with ecru thread and back stitch.  I used a slightly longer stitch than usual for this part (about 3 - 4mm)  Just stitch lines of back stitch and then add more lines next to those until you have filled the whole area

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Next take 3 strands of DMC 451 and use back stitch to outline the body and stitch the antennae but not the tail

then fill the body with the same thread and stitch

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For the tail stitch alternate single stitches using first DMC ecru then DMC 451 until the tail is filled

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I stitched the very tip of the tail using DMC 451 and vertical stitches.

Next, using Anchor 874 and stem stitch embroider the lines on the lower wings.

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Pop coral french knots in between the gold lines as above using 3 strands DMC 352.

Next add more french knots to the top wings where indicated using 3 strands of DMC 352.

Add a coral french knot to the top of each antennae using the same.

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Once you have finished the butterfly stitching you need to place the embroidered calico onto the quilt batting ready to add the french knots and running stitch

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Leave a 1cm border all the way around as a seam allowance as shown.  Then stitch through the cotton and batting making lots of french knots (you could use seed stitch if you prefer) on the front cover.  

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For the back I drew straight lines 0.5cm apart and then stitched through the cotton and batting using running stitch

Tomorrow I will share how to stitch the needlebook together

x

 

part two of the tutorial


caravans and colour

Finished first caravan

I have been working on a new caravan pattern, one that fits into a hoop to be framed but could still work as a cushion centre or in a square picture frame.  Last weekend I would have loved to have had this little caravan as we danced in the mud and rain at WOMAD.  Our little tents kept us dry but I think this caravan might have been a little more luxurious!  

WOMAD was absolutely fabulous despite the rain, it's hard to complain about a bit of rain when there are musicians from Syria along with the Survivors of the Khmer Rouge making the most beautiful music.  It really is such a positive festival that reminds you that we are all just people striving to be as happy as we can be, no matter where we are from.  Music always seems to me to be the best art form for crossing boundaries and bringing people together.

Since getting back my youngest has turned 17!  I can't quite believe that next year all my children will be adults.  

Colour and pattern

And so now I can get back to a little bit of stitching.  I've been choosing the colours for the final version of the caravan.  I had to change a few small details, the cups and saucers were just too tiny to see properly once stitched so we are drinking tea out of mugs.  And my original handwritten 'happiness' was a little messy so that has been adapted along with a few other details.

I am leaning towards a palette with a lot of pinks, reds and peaches although I think the main outline colour will still be blue and I might add a little purple if I can find the right one.  Choosing the colours is always my favourite part, although I do sometimes change or add to them as I go along if something isn't working or something else is needed.  I have been known to unpick a lot of stitching because a colour that looks beautiful on the bobbin simply doesn't work in the embroidery.

Details

I'm also having a bit of fun with stitches in this pattern, trying to fit a few more in.  I love couching and am really happy with the way the knots turned out at the end, there's also a bit of satin stitch using quite long stitches.  Satin stitch is not a stitch I use very much so I'm challenging myself to include it more as it's a great filler for certain kinds of areas.  I will be adding some stitch tutorials to the blog as I go along over the next month or two.

I also have a winter sampler plan in my head but at the moment it is only in my head!  I'm feeling quite excited about the idea of working with more stitches and I love old samplers so hopefully more of that to come.

Finally I have a couple of fab resources for you.  

Marna Lunt is an English embroiderer and tutor (as well as a snow globe collector)  I love her style of stitching and she has the most fabulous free introduction to stitching course.  It is packed with videos of lots of stitches and she is just lovely.  You just need to sign up to her newsletter to have access to the course.  She also has more advanced courses that you can pay for and she does workshops.

The other thing I have been having some fun with is Creative Bug I think you can try it for free for a couple of weeks then it costs about £3.50 (it's in dollars so it changes) a month and there are just so many art and craft videos.  There is a lovely embroidery sampler tutorial by Rebecca Ringquist that is lots of fun to do.  I particularly love all the 31 day drawing challenges as I am not particularly good at making sure I draw every day but there are all sorts of classes on there.

Now I'm going to plan a party to celebrate my and my friends big birthday.  We are having a Hawaii theme due to the particular age that we have reached...  I will leave you to work it out!

Have a fabulous weekend

x